Month: February 2012

Brief response to shows seen in January

Because I was busy with rehearsals for Apocalypse Soon and then distracted by near-death thanks to a Seattle snowstorm,  I was not able to see much theatre in January. I missed out on Coriolanus which I really wanted to see, as well as several others. Here are very short responses to the things I attended.

14/48 at ACT Theatre, written and directed by very talented people in the Seattle community

I was lucky enough to attend three of the four performances of 14/48. 14/48 is always… interesting. The emcee usually makes a joke about how these are all actually just dress rehearsals, and there’s a lot of truth in that. There are generally about three plays of the run you could see being developed more fully into complete productions, but sometimes, more often than I’d like, 14/48 devolves into the easiest sex jokes imaginable. That does not mean that the experience itself isn’t amazing, or that the work is lesser, just that I wish when exhaustion hits the playwright more ideas would come to mind than drawn out sex metaphors. In addition, the male dominated nature of it continues to confound. On one weekend they apparently had mostly female actors and only one (maybe two?) female playwrights. For a cast that is mostly female, it was astounding how many male-centric themes there were. But I remain hopeful about what 14/48 means for the nature of Seattle theatre focusing on new works and trying different things. We learn, after all, from our failures more than our successes. Not to say 14/48 was a failure; it wasn’t. Just that I look forward to the artists they pick becoming more diverse in experiences and voices. 14/48 is something never to be missed and happens twice a year for a total of 8 unique performances and 56 new plays each year. That number alone is incredible.

Macha Monkey‘s Thebes performed at Theatre Off Jackson

This new play written by Kristina Sutherland and directed by Alexis Holzer was absolutely fantastic. Depicting the story of a female soldier returning home to Thebes, IL where her mother is in the midst of a campaign for mayor. The play deals with the collapse and rebuild of a family. I’ll admit that sister dramas, in particular, are a soft-spot for me, but with the use of a chorus and some really intense flashbacks (that could also be hallucinations?), Thebes became a lot more than a simple family drama. More than that, Thebes never took the easy road, opting instead to tread new ground rather than rehash stories that have already been told. And, it did all that with humor as well as drama and featured a mostly female cast. That does not happen often enough. Though it was not a perfect show, (I think the last fight between the women still needs some work so everyone doesn’t just speak their peace down the line) Thebes did everything that I ask theatre to do: it didn’t reflect my life back at me, it refracted into something new.

Construction Zone‘s inaugural production at ACT Theatre of American Wee-Pie by Lisa Dillman

I couldn’t be happier that ACT Theatre is starting this project. Construction Zone aims to work with established playwrights on developing new work and opens the discussion up to Seattle audiences. I’m in dramaturg heaven. American Wee-Pie put a different spin on the economic crisis and search for self by adding a lot of comedy and cupcakes. What’s not to love? What was fantastic about Construction Zone is that similarly to New Century’s Pipeline, the performance ends with a discussion about the work in progress. They were luckily able to bring the playwright to the event and are still looking for more funding so they can always fly the playwright in. So, if you like new work and happen to have an extra $5, send it their way.

February’s list is forthcoming!

New projects and announcements

Apocalypse Soon was a huge success at Ghost Light Theatricals Battle of the Bards. My cast killed it, as they were destined to do. And even though we didn’t win Battle of the Bards, all three shows broke $1500 in donations which is something that has not happened in Battle of Bards history. Here is the final score for those who who are desperate to know how the whole thing turned out. The winning show, Paper Bullets, is going to be an awesome experience written by the very talented John E. Allis who currently writes for The Seattle Star and blogged for the last 14/48. You can look forward to seeing Paper Bullets next season at Ghost Light Theatricals!

Done with one show and on to the next. I’m pleased to announce a new project. I will be directing at Stone Soup Theatre’s Double XX Festival a short piece written by Deborah Yarchun called Streakers.

As of right now the show is slated to perform on the second weekend of the festival, April 26th – 29th. Streakers blends ritual, sex, and humor centering around the death of a pet. General auditions for all Double XX Fest pieces are coming up on the 18th and 19th of February if you know someone who would be interested in participating in any of the fantastic shows directed by Seattle women.

My playwrighting class is coming to close which means there will be a showcase of student work. As of right now, the date is set for Friday, February 24th at ACT Theatre. The showcase will feature ten minute selections from all the students in class. This class has been absolutely extraordinary, and I would encourage any writer in the Seattle area to take it. For the showcase, I’m preparing a scene from a new work, tentatively titled, Slip. Here’s a short excerpt:

ALANA
That’s just it. It’s like I remember something. Like that word on the tip of your tongue. When my mom said his name

MEL
What was it?

ALANA
Sorry

MEL
His name?

ALANA
Hal.

MEL
Hal?

ALANA
Hal.

“Little bunny foo-foo” plays on out-of-key piano. It’s out of joint.  An EASTER BUNNY comes across stage hiding eggs. ALANA can hear the music and sees the BUNNY. 

MEL
We could try to find a picture. See if it will jog your memory. If it means something to you. I want to help.

ALANA
No. I’d rather just

MEL
You okay?

ALANA
Huh?

MEL
What’s the matter?

ALANA
Did you see

MEL
I’ll make you tea.

EASTER BUNNY satisfied with the placement of eggs, exits. Music stops. Light shift.
Slip.
ALANA’s childhood house. She is sixteen and drunk.

ALANA
Tea?

MOM
You’ve been drinking tea?

ALANA
Mom?

From the stage directions: “A slip is a shift in time, not a flashback. It is as if ALANA is falling through memories but is still also active in the scene happening in real time. Sometimes, these moments take a minute of adjustment for her, and sometimes they are immediately understood as current reality.” I’m quite excited about this play and curious to see how it develops.

I have not forsaken the writing of responses to shows, but I’ve been going to so many, I have had barely enough time to sleep between my full-time job, seeing shows, rehearsals, reading, and writing plays. Excuses, perhaps, but I may write a brief rundown of all the shows I’ve seen this year, which I think is already in the double-digits.

And finally, I may have a dramaturg gig lined up for the foreseeable months. More on that to come after the workshop readings of the play in question.

It is an exciting time for theatre in Seattle, especially with the announcement that Intiman Theatre will be returning this summer for a short festival of works. As someone who used to work at Intiman, I could not be happier about this announcement and am particularly excited to see the roster of artists involved. It should be an amazing year for Seattle Theatre.